Naomi Seidman Is Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

For immediate release, April 7, 2016

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has announced that Dr. Naomi Seidman, Koret Professor of Jewish Culture at the Graduate Theological Union, has received a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2016. Dr. Seidman is among a diverse group of 178 scholars, artists, and scientists selected to receive the prestigious award this year; Fellows for 2016 were chosen from a field of nearly 3,000 applicants.

The Fellowship, granted for Dr. Seidman’s work in the field of literary criticism, will support development of her upcoming book, tentatively titled The Navel of the Dream: Freud’s Jewish Languages. In this project, Seidman will explore the Jewish and Yiddish languages “behind” Freud’s German and its translational afterlife. Seidman’s goal in this work is not to uncover a more original version of Freud’s work uncontaminated by translation and cultural assimilation; instead, she seeks to trace the persistence of this desire to “return” to the original—a desire she believes is itself worthy of psychoanalytic inquiry. She explains, “The Navel of the Dream will explore the relationship between Freud’s thought and Jewish languages as a dream, fantasy, and cultural symptom, a ‘missing original’ rather than a ‘mother tongue.’”

Guggenheim Fellowships are given annually to men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability. This year’s awards were announced through a full-page ad in the April 6, 2016, edition of The New York Times.

A member of the GTU faculty since 1995, Naomi Seidman served as director of the GTU’s Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies (CJS) from 1998 to 2015. She is the author of several books, including The Marriage Plot: Or, How Jews Fell in Love with Love, and with Literature, to be published in July 2016 by Stanford University Press. Seidman is also recipient of the NEH Fellowship for Senior Scholars for 2016-17, awarded by the Center for Jewish History in New York.  

Home to North America’s largest PhD program in religious studies, the Graduate Theological Union is a haven for interdisciplinary and interreligious scholarship, building bridges within and across religious traditions. The GTU’s Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies, established in 1968, is dedicated to the critical examination of Jewish history, literature, and culture.

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Learn more about the Guggenheim Foundation’s 2016 Awards.